I was listening to some music the other day that made me want to play the air guitar and air drums to it. A thought came to me regarding the timing of the drum beats and how I pretended to follow along to the music. The fun part of pretending to be the drummer or guitarist for whatever piece of music you are listening to is how much you exaggerate what you are doing. When a big guitar solo comes on, you invent new ways to deal with this instrument. One handed playing, playing with the whammy bar, behind the back, doing Pete Townsend type moves and so on. Its no different with animation. Its how you do the scene and what type of interesting performance you create which makes it interesting. Its also what comes before and after the big moments. You could say this is the texture of the scene. This can be the part when the guy from the video tosses his guitar in the air. For the animator, it can be the mannerism they do during a quite part of the scene. It may be a facial mannerism like a lip twitch or a gesture. The point is, it adds to the character. Whenever I have been in dailies and seen something great, I always think… “Why didn’t I think of that?” With the air guitarist, a lot of the talent is from the gut. Some people have it and others it takes more effort to come up with a performance worth watching. The great thing about animation is that we can plan. Planning will really help with the idea, even if its for a few hours before you animate. Its worth it.
In essence, A good performance has many ingredients that make it interesting to watch. Animation is no different. All the things we learn about in school such as anticipation, staging, timing, etc etc… are ingredients to bake the perfect animation cake. Its not necessarily the ingredients, but more how the cake is baked….